On Behalf of | Sep 8, 2011 | Workplace Issues |

Recently I was at a local spa getting a beauty treatment (yes, I like to indulge myself). Mary, the sweet lady that was giving me a facial, confided that she was upset over a recent evaluation she had received from her boss. Mary apologized to me for venting, but seemed grateful for a friendly ear. She said that her boss, the owner of the company, told the employees that they would be getting a pay cut. (This was news since I don’t usually see this unless the job position has changed and the employee is doing less work). Mary’s job had not changed and, in my experience, her work is excellent. It certainly isn’t easy to get an appointment with her unless you call way in advance. I asked Mary, “Aren’t you booked up?” She replied that she was busier than ever. I wanted to hear more so I asked her to tell me what was said by her boss.

Mary said that her boss told her she was “self centered” and all she thought about was herself.

Whoa, this was not what I expected to hear. I couldn’t believe it! I asked her again and she repeated it. Mary was very distraught. Mary said her boss told her, “If you don’t like it, leave. You are easy to replace.”

I have thought about this a lot and can find no situation where a comment like this would ever be justified. What was the boss thinking? Is this supposed to motivate the employee? Is it designed to make the employee quit? Or is it just a bad boss taking his frustrations of life out on the poor employee?

This type of criticism would never be justified. All this boss did was guarantee bad morale, resentment, lack of team loyalty and just general bad work karma.

Since I am a dog lover, I dislike the phrase “go home and kick the dog.” But this is exactly what the boss did. He “kicked the employee” so he would feel better.

Contrast this boss with the one that lets the bad employee run amok. For example, this boss looks the other way when the employee ignores rules and fails to be a productive employee. In this scenario, the bad employee gets away with murder, comes in late, you get the picture. While the boss ignores the bad employee, the other employees seethe with resentment. Morale goes down because the good employees think “Why should we work hard, when the bad employee doesn’t and no one cares. We might as well goof off too.”

What causes the boss to look the other way? See my next blog: “What makes good people turn into Bad Supervisors.”